Hundreds of Romanians returning from UK queued at Otopeni airport just before cancellation of flights. At least 200 blocked at UK-France border


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There have been long queues on Henri Coanda/Otopeni Airport in Bucharest on Monday, December 21, after hundreds of passengers, most of them Romanians returning from the United Kingdom, had been standing in line for triage, breaking all social distancing rules.

There are only two triage areas on the Otopeni Airport, which must check and sort through all passengers coming from UK, but also from other countries on the yellow area. Besides, there are only six employees of the Public Health Department to handle hundreds of passengers.

People have rushed to come back to Romania before the new restrictions had come into force today at 19.00, when all commercial flights to and from UK are being suspended.

Flights from UK to Romania were full on Monday, with some airlines even having to supplement aircrafts to cover the demand.

Nine flights arrived on Henri Coanda Airport on Monday, with the last scheduled to arrive at 19:00hrs, which is the deadline established by the authorities.

Amid new strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in the UK, the Romanian emergency situations authorities decided on Sunday to suspend all flights coming and going to the UK to and from Romania, for 14 days, starting December 21.

Moreover, the UK entered the list of countries with high epidemiological risk, thus all people arriving from UK to Romania must stay under a 14-day quarantine.

The new strain of the coronavirus is 70% more contagious than the initial one. Lockdown has already been imposed in such regions as southeastern England, Wales and London due to this new strain, while many other countries have already enforced the measures to suspend flights from UK.

Other Romanians blocked in the UK after some borders closed. Access through Eurotunnel banned

Hundreds of Romanians, around 200 truck drivers and passengers of some coaches and vans, are stuck in the UK after several European states had closed their borders due to the new strain of coronavirus. Volunteers in Europe Association has told Digi254 there also also elderly, children and pregnant women among the Romanians blocked at the border crossing points.

Freight and passenger transport on road, maritime and railway routes from UK on the Dover-Calais routed has been suspended as of Sunday December 20, for at least 48 hours. Thus the Kent Police has banned the transport of cargo trucks in the Eurotunnel.

In retort, the Romanian Foreign Ministry has asked France to urgently solve this situation and has also raised the issue within the European Union.

In its turn, the National Union of Road Transporters from Romania said that suspending freight and people’s movement from UK to France on this Dove-Calais route is seriously going against the European Commission’s recommendations on “green corridors”.

In busiest periods of the year like Christmas, over 10,000 trucks are going on this route on a daily basis.

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